Saturday 9 May 2009

What About the Pollard Case Do I Not Understand?

Jonathan Pollard is the American Naval civilian intelligence analyst who was jailed for spying for Israel. He received a life sentence in 1987 with a recommendation against parole. Now, 22 years later, Pollard continues to languish in jail despite numerous attempts at very senior levels to free him. Criminals in the US who receive life sentences are generally freed on parole long before they have served 22 years in jail. So, what have I missed? Why does the American government insist upon keeping Pollard imprisoned?

I am able to accept the fact that Pollard committed a crime which deserved some sort of punishment. In his role as an intelligence analyst, he was expected to respect the rules under which he was engaged. Even though, as an Israeli, I appreciate his efforts to assist Israel, it is clear to most concerned that he transgressed his security clearance. This is despite the claims that the information that he passed to Israel was information that Israel was entitled to receive. It is also despite the fact that Israel is not considered to be an enemy nation to the USA. I believe that there can be little doubt that Pollard passed information to Israel that he knew he should not have passed. He was caught, and was deserving of a punishment commensurate with the crime.

Instead, the Pollard case is riddled with strange and unexplainable facts that would seem to have prevented him from serving his time, and being released to continue to live his life. Despite the fact that he betrayed his employers and broke the law, he can hardly be regarded as a common criminal who represents a danger to American society.

I have many unanswered questions about this case:
  • why did the American government not stick to the terms of the plea bargain?
  • what is contained in the various documents submitted by Caspar Weinberger to the courts regarding the case?
  • why did Clinton not stick to his promise to release Pollard during his term as President?
  • why would Bush not consider this?
  • why did it take the Israeli government so long to take responsibility for the man who acted on ideological grounds to assist the State of Israel?
These represent only a very small subset of the numerous unanswered questions on this case. There are so many others that contribute to the intrigue and seeming injustice that surrounds this case.

I call upon the Israeli and American governments to do all that they can to free Pollard from prison. It is up to us to ensure that the name of Jonathan Pollard is not forgotten and remains in the news every day.

Please visit the Justice for Jonathan Pollard website. For more facts about the case, please click here.

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